Animal migration

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Long-distance bird migration timing is thought to be relatively inflexible despite climate change. Here, based on 13 years of mark-resight and geolocator-tracking data on bar-tailed godwits, the authors report a 6-day advance of departure time which is explained by an unexpected degree of individual plasticity.

    • Jesse R. Conklin
    • , Simeon Lisovski
    •  & Phil F. Battley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Migration is costly. In the first global analysis of migratory vertebrates, authors report that migratory birds and mammals have faster paces of life than their non-migratory relatives, and that among swimming and walking species, migrants tend to be larger, while among flying species, migrants are smaller.

    • Andrea Soriano-Redondo
    • , Jorge S. Gutiérrez
    •  & Stuart Bearhop
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Comparative analysis of animal behaviour using locomotion data such as GPS data is difficult because the large amount of data makes it difficult to contrast group differences. Here the authors apply deep learning to detect and highlight trajectories characteristic of a group across scales of millimetres to hundreds of kilometres.

    • Takuya Maekawa
    • , Kazuya Ohara
    •  & Ken Yoda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is unclear whether bird migration patterns are restricted to interglacial periods or are maintained during glacial maxima. Somveille et al. apply a global migration simulation model to climate reconstruction to show that the prevalence of this phenomenon has likely been largely maintained up to 50,000 years ago.

    • Marius Somveille
    • , Martin Wikelski
    •  & Walter Jetz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Conservation decisions to protect land used by migratory birds rely on understanding species’ dynamic habitat associations. Here the authors identify conservation scenarios needed to maintain >30% of the abundances of 117 migratory birds across the Americas, considering spatial and temporal patterns of species abundance.

    • Richard Schuster
    • , Scott Wilson
    •  & Joseph. R. Bennett
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Population dynamics of migratory animals can be driven by direct, indirect, and potentially opposing effects at wintering and breeding grounds. Here, Woodworthet al. show that migratory sparrow population growth rate is balanced by temperature at wintering grounds and density-dependence at breeding grounds.

    • Bradley K. Woodworth
    • , Nathaniel T. Wheelwright
    •  & D. Ryan Norris
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Environmental variation has been hypothesized to favour the evolution of large brains capable of adjusting behaviour to changing circumstances. Here, Sayolet al. find that across more than 1200 bird species, species with relatively large brains are indeed associated with more variable habitats.

    • Ferran Sayol
    • , Joan Maspons
    •  & Daniel Sol
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fish migration is influenced by various environmental factors such as chemicals in water. Here, Hellstrom et al. show that an anxiolytic drug in the benzodiazepine family, oxazepam, can promote migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon smolts in both laboratory setting and river tributary in Sweden.

    • Gustav Hellström
    • , Jonatan Klaminder
    •  & Tomas Brodin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether and how birds sleep during long-distance flights has remained a mystery. Here, Rattenborg and colleagues show for the first time that frigatebirds can sleep during flight, but do so in remarkably small amounts.

    • Niels C Rattenborg
    • , Bryson Voirin
    •  & Alexei L. Vyssotski
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Delimiting populations is crucial for conserving threatened species. Using genome-wide data from the whole of Antarctica, Cristofari et al.show that Emperor penguins are organised into a single global population that have shared demography since the late Quarternary.

    • Robin Cristofari
    • , Giorgio Bertorelle
    •  & Emiliano Trucchi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Migration of adult American eels from the coast to their spawning area in the Sargasso Sea have previously only been inferred from larval distributions. Here, Béguer-Pon et al. track adult eels from the continental shelf into the open ocean, with one individual migrating to the northern limit of the spawning site.

    • Mélanie Béguer-Pon
    • , Martin Castonguay
    •  & Julian J. Dodson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Lévy walks have been found in the motion of large animals such as birds and fish in search of sparsely and randomly distributed food. Here, Arielet al. observe, by tracking long-duration trajectories of fluorescently labelled bacteria, similar walks in bacterial swarms for the first time.

    • Gil Ariel
    • , Amit Rabani
    •  & Avraham Be'er
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) migrate from North America to central Mexico during the fall. Here, Guerra et al. show that, in addition to a sun compass orientation, monarch butterflies use a magnetic compass to help direct their flight towards the equator.

    • Patrick A Guerra
    • , Robert J Gegear
    •  & Steven M Reppert
  • Article |

    Migratory segregation presents a hypothesized barrier to gene flow among seabirds, but its mechanisms are unclear. Rayneret al. find that migratory habitat specialization, associated with breeding asynchrony and philopatry, restricts gene flow between two seabird populations migrating across the Pacific Ocean.

    • Matt J. Rayner
    • , Mark E. Hauber
    •  & Scott A. Shaffer
  • Article |

    The bar-tailed godwit departs from New Zealand for breeding sites in Alaska. Here, using geolocators, godwits are shown to time their migration depending on the latitude of their breeding site in Alaska; early migrators locate in the south of Alaska, whereas later birds breed in the North.

    • Jesse R. Conklin
    • , Phil F. Battley
    •  & James W. Fox